Lancaster happy with front row options ahead of Australia clash

THE ABSENCE of prop Alex Corbisiero will not weaken England’s injury-ravaged front row against Australia on Saturday, says coach Stuart Lancaster.

Corbisiero twisted his left knee while playing for Northampton two weeks ago and will not feature at Twickenham, though the 25-year-old is believed to be progressing well and in line to make his return against Argentina on 9 November.

Hooker Dylan Hartley and tight-head prop David Wilson are also struggling with ankle and calf injuries respectively and, despite Lancaster’s expectation that both will be fit, Rob Webber and Henry Thomas have been added to the squad as cover.

But the Red Rose coach insists he is content with the options available to him, with Saracens’ loose-head Mako Vunipola or Joe Marler of Harlequins standing by as Corbisiero’s replacement.

“I have no concern about the two guys we have got,” said Lancaster.

“Mako Vunipola has improved this year with the new scrumming laws and Joe Marler was the pick of our forwards in Argentina [in June], so we are very strong in that position.

“Dylan and David are making good progress and I’m pretty optimistic both will be available to train fully, definitely by Thursday.”

The England team, captained by flanker Chris Robshaw, to play the Wallabies is scheduled to be announced on Thursday.